Thursday, May 28, 2020

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Best Graph Paper Notebook For D&D

What is the best dungeon master's notebook? It came out a few years ago and it's this thing by a mile:
The Princeton Architectural Press Grids & Guides Notebook For Visual Thinkers...

You guys may have seen the converted cookbook I use for the Cube World atlas...


This is a much more day-to-day workhorse product.
So it's sturdy, well-stitched, it's A4 (or A5? whatever: the objectively best RPG book size as decided by LotFP at some point), it was even reviewed in New York Magazine :

In the past I’ve stocked up on whatever cheap-ish notebook hits these requirements:
1. Sturdy cover (won’t get dented in purse)
2. Opens flat
3. Good paper: ink won’t smear / bleed
4. Of a comfortable writing size
5. Decently attractive

These days, I no longer settle. There’s a better option out there. I’ve tasted the fine wine and I can’t go back. Luckily, the wine is priced at a reasonable $16. It is the Princeton Architectural Press Grids & Guides Notebook, and it is not like Other Notebooks.

What really sets it apart is the variety of different grids it provides, which Cube World readers might've seen...
Each spread has two different grids or guides left and right, eight in total, ideal for drawing a map on one side and putting notes on the other....
 The triangle one is perfect for making hexmaps...
The circle one is probable the most eccentric but it has its uses...

The ledger paper on the left has 38 numbered lines, which is perfect if you want to make a standard encounter roll table where there's a 2-in-6 (33.3%) chance of a random encounter. Just do 33 entries and then you've got  a few extra lines for things like "Torch goes out", "Thirsty, drink", "Hungry, eat some rations" etc. and the last line is "38.-100 No encounter".
The one on the right is a logarithmic scale grid, which is nice for diagrams or drawings where you need a sense of perspective...

...or depth, I used it in this Tracery map under the Lodestone Golem to show the steps down from the upper level to the lower ones:
 The left-hand "plaid" grid here is an architectural grid...
Which you can use if you like to include the thickness of the walls as part of your map, so like between Green 4 and Green 5 here you have a lil' gap and a guide to the width of a standard doorway:
The 6-panel grid on the other side is based on a grid for drawing storyboards, I used it to, for example, draw the map on the graph paper side and put in little sketches of the distinctive features on the panel side:
 You probably know what to do with this stuff here--dot grid left, standard graph paper right:








Interleaved between these they also throw in a few random reference pages, this one is languages: sign language, semaphore, etc:
I turned the reference page on geometric shapes into the 4-dimensional room map that you might've seen in the Red & Pleasant Miscellany.
There are a few different versions of this notebook and (I can't decide if this is good or bad) they each have a slightly different set of 8 grids:
That beige one is the "Grids & Guides Notebook for Ecological Thinkers" which, despite the beigeness and cringey title (you can totally see Elon Musk being at some TED talk and going "I've always been an ecological thinker") has a really useful grid for dungeons: large squares about the minimum size you can write in with a .005 pen and about exactly the minimum size for a plausible dungeon room, with a coordinate grid (A, B, C, 1, 2, 3...) already printed in...
Which is ideal for drawing an area map freehand (you can just use the coordinates to identify points of interest) or for making idea matrix charts where two pairs of ideas are knocked together to look at all the combinatoric options like these....
I used this grid for the Tiger King Dungeon...
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Anyway yeah that's the best notebook! Ummm...there's a new module up in the store all about flayers and negazohedrons and brain-eaters...




So if you want it, get it.
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Monday, May 11, 2020

Ten Years Of This

So some moron made this twitter account...


Then, this idiot didn't get the moron's joke and said it was me:
So then the moron protested to the idiot
The idiot still didn't believe him, so the moron moved to his direct messages...

I mean you can't make this stuff up, like...

Like if you wrote that in a script it'd be too on the nose.

Ah but wait...how did I get the screenshot? Because idiot still didn't believe it even after the offer to provide a photo and kept going and showed everyone...
So here I am, involved in court cases on multiple continents with many tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lawyers raking over everything I do every day and the idiot thinks I'm going to just spend saturday night making a new account and pretending to be a different guy in his DMs?

And he was fool enough to post it, therefore providing a very handy "Exhibit A" if I ever need to prove Mandy inspired an army of losers to harass me.

And as if that wasn't stupid enough, then Alexis-- the Tao of D&D blogger--gets involved. So I post some evidence:

And then--remember I've been in the middle of legal action for a year--Alexis alleges that the witness--whose document is part of a phonebook-sized affadavit of documents, a person with 33,000 twitter followers and who's been in porn for literal decades is not a real person:
And look, my comment got 1 like? That's sweet. From who?
Guys:

This keystone cops shit where a guy tries to harass me, gets harassed by someone else who was also trying to harass me because they want to say its me, who then is outed while openly saying they're harassing me, then some kind-of-respected colleague gets on and announces the entire legal and porn profession has been fooled and a witness in this case doesn't exist?

This isn't even weird. This isn't a product of what happened last year. This has been going on for ten fucking years. The people fecklessly making up shit about this were fecklessly making up shit about Vampire: The Masquerade the year before and Paolo Greco the year before that and 4e the year before that and on and on forever.

Fully-employed dipshits with total confidence in things that get disproved in less than a minute or just so dedicated to trolling they will pretend they are without a second thought. And the person who wants their colleagues to stop doing this is the bad guy?

Maybe all of this is just normal to you, but after a year of legal action I can tell you: nobody outside of the tiny bubble of online RPGs does anything but look at this shit and go "What the fuck is wrong with these people?"

-Z



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P.S. Go buy something:



Four Islands (Cube World #12) now in the store

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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Nephilidia! Win Stuff! Correct Walpole Languray Contest!

As you may know if you keep up with The Store, Nephilidia is up! This one took a while to collate...
I tried to do an Ian Miller old man tree monster but it just looks like a guy
trying to give you pills at an Electric Wizard show

So decadent are the vampire lords of Nephilidia that they fear equally the sun, the sea, dry land, and, indeed any surface not hewn by an intelligent hand. Distinguishable from ordinary vampires by the gills on their necks and their glassy blue eyes, they prefer to travel via subterranean aqueducts, sewers, or other shallow, watertight, artificial constructions.

Most prefer never to leave their half-drowned empire of Nephilidia. Inside its tarnished palaces and rotting halls they sit--forever knee-deep in black and stagnant water, with strange algaes stretched like cobwebs from the surface to the once-ornate walls and crumbling statuary--endlessly elaborating cruel and languid intrigues, attended by naught but eyeless fish.

Nephilidia once had another name, and another before that, but now it is only Nephilidia—the sun’s weakened gleam silhouetting nothing but immense sea spiders and the scaffolds of illegible, unmoving machines rusting in snow and the enormous moon, in its turn, describing only the charcoaled surfaces of black-armored knights and the pale of their ghost-colored steeds.

This 23-page pdf includes a hexmap, random encounter tables for the sea, snow, and ruins, Nephilidian dungeon generator, map of the last palace, stats, items and lots more. 12$, 15$ if you use Onlyfans. Details on how to buy in The Store

I realized while putting this together that the entire idea for Nephilidia came from this Sutherland image from the 1e Dungeon Master's Guide...
So I homaged it...
(this was my third attempt)
Anyway though I'm happy with Nephilidia, I realize for some of you in this Covid-economy it may be too pricey, so I am once again offering....

A Contest

So, as you know, Into The Odd's Chris McDowall runs the OSR discord server and, last year, I guess to enable the harassment campaign against me and LotFP? He changed the rules to allow lying on the server.

So in addition to the usual lunacy, we regularly get gems like this, about the various sections of Maze of the Blue Medusa, drawn and painted by me and written by Patrick Stuart and I...
So here's the contest:

Answer the following trivia questions about Maze of the Blue Medusa in the comments:

1) Name anything from Maze of the Blue Medusa that was Patrick Stuart's idea

2) Name anything from Maze of the Blue Medusa that was Zak Smith's idea

3) Who conceived of- and wrote most of- The Gallery section of Maze of the Blue Medusa with its ill-behaved Cannibal Critics and their absurd questions?

4) Who conceived of- and wrote most of- The Garden in Maze of the Blue Medusa with its creepy eroticized plants?

5) What major change was made by one author of Maze to the Garden section? By which author?

6) Who conceived of- and wrote most of- The Wedding section of Maze of the Blue Medusa?

7) Who was the personality of the Medusa based on? Who decided that?

8) Who was the personality of the naked girl who destroys everything she touches based on? Who decided that?

9) Who was the physical model for the painting of the Blue Medusa?

10) Who invented the chameleon women?

You can find the answers to these questions by fact checking. That is: reviewing public statements and interviews by me and Patrick, by asking Patrick (he has a blog, I hear), or figuring them out by looking at the answers in the comments when I tell people they're wrong and how warm or cold they are. I mean, you can just guess until you get it right if you're dedicated.

First person to get all the questions right wins!

Winner gets a copy of any pdf of any one RPG thing I wrote--except Nephilidia, because I just finished and it took a long time and I'm not ready to be giving it away yet.

Second chance:

If you want a pdf but can't afford one and don't win the contest, you can get one by contacting Wapole Languray on discord (on the OSR server or anywhere else) and conveying the correct answers to them, with a screenshot.